Andrew Johnston
September 19, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Filmmaker Levinson’s first novel is about five buddies in an earlier, more innocent Baltimore who spend endless hours devouring gravy fries at their favorite greasy spoon as they talk…sound familiar? Yep, ”Sixty-Six” is a shameless rehash of Levinson’s 1982 movie ”Diner,” with the action transplanted from 1959 to — you guessed it — 1966. But instead of serving up a fresh batch of the freewheeling (and often imitated) conversations about music, women, and the meaning of life that made the film so memorable, Levinson drowns in a flood of cliches about Vietnam, the sexual revolution, and the loss of American innocence. Everything is filtered through the memory of Bobby Shine, an ambitious intern at a local TV station who’s an obvious stand-in for the author. ”Sixty-Six” is boomer solipsism at its most annoying, made more insufferable by Levinson’s mawkish, clumsy prose.

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